Abilities United

Hello. Hello? Anybody Care?!

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* Caution* Like the television commercial for tv ratings and
parental control over content – you may have to block me or this post! Before I
start (actually this is added after I just re-read my frantic, heart felt
thoughts that I wrote for this blog entry) that I must say this entry has more
colorful language then most of my previous entries! Since the word beginning
with “F” has appeared more then once I am not qualified for a PG-13 and
therefore will get the fucking “R” rating! Hehehehehe!

You know I have been talking, sometimes incessantly,
sometimes yelling and screaming about the fair and equal representation of
those with a disability, breaking the stereotypes and ending the discrimination
of those with a disability in today’s entertainment media for 12 years! 12
fucking years. But I am not one who just sits around and screams about the
injustice – I have been WORKING to change it. I sacrifice everything including,
at times, my sanity! I do not do this just for the sake of it – or for the fame
so I can become the next Steven Spielberg – or to make a lot of money and
afford the house in Newport Beach, CA or in Brentwood, Malibu or other
sometimes exclusive Hollywood or certainly for only the wealthy neighborhoods!
I do this because it is who I am! I love telling stories – and love putting
them on camera! So ever since I became paralyzed and saw there were hardly any
movies about those like myself and the movies that do are so stereotypical and
portrayed by fine actors but able bodied just makes me wanna scream – REPRESENT
– come on, man, who is representing those with a disability. For a while it was
Christopher Reeve – who was always underrated in my opinion – but just to think
of it – he was Superman and even then the representation was limited. Maybe it
was because of the opportunities provided him even though he was an
accomplished actor, or maybe his ability, but I know it was not because of his
passion or desire for his work – his lifetime of work! But now unfortunately,
or maybe fortunately depending on your perspective (knowing he is in a much
better place now then he was), he is not longer with us. Physically speaking
because sometimes I feel him smiling and encouraging me when I am working my
work! But that is not getting me anywhere past this damn computer screen, hard
drive, memory and keyboard!

I feel like I am in this big room of Hollywood
makers and players. They are on the stage in a roundtable like forum – you know
like at some of the film fests that are into actually helping the independent
filmmaking community and not just to celebrate the latest “indiewood” films?
But the floor is so crowded that I cannot get anyone’s attention! Well, that is
not completely true, I should clarify as anyone’s attention on the stage
because those on the floor with me, my fellow kindred spirits of the indie
world, do have a response but only when I run over their fucking toes with my
wheelchair! That is also not completely true as there are some that feel I am
admirable in my goals and inspirational in tenacity. But as much as I
appreciate the understanding and the occasional praise – it does nothing to
change things! I have the work, I have the answers to nearly every question
about the true and accurate representation through an authentic voice of those
with a disability in the movies and all I need is one of those on the stage to
listen – for 5 minutes and I know they will see what I see. But I raise my
hand, scream and yell words that in most circumstances would stop fucking traffic
in the business world – NICHE PRODUCT for a well underserved market segment –
yet still maintains UNIVERSAL APPEAL – NEVER BEEN DONE but COMMERCIALLY VIABLE.
And words that in the social world also demands attention like – STEREOTYPES –
DISCRIMINATION and the worst against those with a disability then most other industries
– LARGEST & FASTEST GROWING MINORITY in America with the LEAST
REPRESENTATION, and yet I still cannot get that 5 minutes from anyone on that
damn, fucking stage!

 

Well I am raising my hand but there are so many on the floor
where even if I were in the second row I would not be seen sitting from my
chair because everyone else is standing and so much taller then me that I am
invisible to those on the stage. In fact I can barely see them by looking
between hips, shoulders and raised arms! So I will work my way to the front
row! From those on the floor – competing to do the same thing – they want the
same 5 minutes with someone on that stage of Hollywood makers and players! So
unless I find someone who will allow me out of the goodness of their heart to
move aside so I can work my way in front of them and all the way to the front
row where they will then see that standing behind me sitting in my chair, in
front of them they have lost nothing and are still easily seen and therefore
preserving their potential and suddenly still reap the rewards of the feeling
that result in giving rather then receiving. I have to wave that damn
disability card, play on their sympathies, scream how they are being so unfair
to the poor disabled man! Evoke that which is the last thing I want – the thing
I work so hard to pull away from – pity, pity, pity, me! I hate that shit and
have never been one to want it even if it helps me get something I really want
like a restaurant table before everyone else and play it down so I can impress
my date that it is only because of my character and impressive accomplishments,
of who I am and NOT what I am. I know that will only fool my date if she was
blonde – but hey, that blue eyed, dark haired woman that I have a weakness for
and am more attracted to, won’t do it on the first date! And that would be okay
if I got some recently! Like this year!  

 

So finally I get to the front row and I can see them on the
stage and I know if they look they will be able to see me too! But guess what?
Those on the stage of Hollywood players and
makers are some of the most thoughtful, civil minded, equal rights for everyone
regardless of nationality, or gender, or religion, so much that they are
looking all over the floor and all the way to the back row so EVERYONE has a
fair chance and therefore look right over the first row! If I had only known
that, if I could’ve seen from the crowd of able bodied crowd members standing
and therefore blocking my view from seeing what those equal rights and equal
opportunity players and makers where doing when I was back there I would’ve
never wasted so much time and effort working my way to the front row where I
thought – as most do – that would provide an advantage. So I will go back in
the crowd and figure a way to be noticed – find a creative means to be
separated from the crowd and just get that 5 minutes to sell them on my vision
and the great opportunity that awaits them! A great idea for a great cause that
with their greenlight of resources and following the plan I have worked,
collaborating with me on the implementation if this plan that answers all
questions before they are asked and provides a road map to potentially great
success along with the changes that their experiences says is necessary, I may
be able to finally get this to the next level – and prove to the rest of the
industry that it was a great idea for a great cause and wish they had thought
of it themselves!

 

So I am coming up with some creative ideas and ways to get
attention. I have a couple of ideas that I know can get attention of the right
people – if their people will allow them to see it! In many cases that is the
biggest hurdle, the biggest obstacle is those who decide who the “right people”
will even see, let alone call on the floor just below the stage! If I can just
get the Hollywood door open and get my foot in
it won’t matter if they slam the door because my foot is paralyzed! I have no
sensation or function – so slam away baby! I am not going anywhere without a
fair and equal opportunity to show what I have – what is different from the
hundreds of other filmmakers outside the door! Maybe that is the reason they
will not pay attention or even open the door? They are afraid they if they let
me in and I fail, causing them to lose money, credibility, or anything else
that they will not be able to get rid of me! They feel if the person who can
cry foul the most has no way to point a specific finger at them that is the
best way to avoid the negative – although correct – publicity that would fall
upon them. Easier to avoid if there is never an opportunity! Even if that
opportunity has great potential to be success! Maybe that is the answer? I have
been thinking that it was because they have always ignored those with a
disability so why change now? What proof do I have that what I bring to the
table is any different from anyone or anything in the past that dealt with
those with a disability? Give me 5 fucking minutes and I will tell you and you
will see beyond a reasonable doubt that I do have an answer to that question
and many more!

 

12 years. I didn’t always have the answers to all the
questions one could raise about those with a disability in front of and behind
the camera in Hollywood
and today’s entertainment media. But I have them now, 12 years later. And I not
only can answer them I can provide examples and solutions if I can get a
greenlight!

 

But I am running out of time. I risked everything to take
this to the next level – figuring that after 12 years and because I have
prepared everything that is in my power to be positioned where I am that I
would surely get the chance if I put a full time effort into getting the
attention that would take it to the next level. And I thought I had some pretty
solid confirmation on investors at least committing to seed capital for
Abilities United Productions, LLC which would provide working capital that
includes a reasonable salary and the production budget for the short film,
“Glacial Breeze” that is a great calling card to what it is we are poised to do
and to bring to the near future and beyond (was that Buzz Lightyear I just
heard? Where is his cousin Buzz “Green-Lightyear”? lol). But that warp speeded
away almost as soon as the promising commitments were made and now here I am
sitting here holding the bag – with nothing left in my bank account – creditors
for my personal expenses including the rent – about to come down so hard on me
after pushing them off and off and off until now – that I am about to lose
everything I have.

 

Oh well, it is my fault, I am the one that felt it was a
calculated risk to take given the opportunities and promises that were made,
given the 12 years of dedication and work that would answer any and all
questions pertaining to my work, my cause, my deal that is win-win-win! I guess
I was wrong and now will have to once again as I have many times in the past –
pay the piper because of my calculated risk taking! Only this time it is with
blood because I do not have anything else left! Damn, damn, damn. The last
thing I wanted was this poor, poor, pity me and yet along with my blood seems
all that I have left!

 

Got to be positive! Got to carry on! There is always a light
at the end
of the tunnel – even if it isn’t green! At least it is light! I have
seen plenty of dark tunnels and been seemingly stuck in many of them! Cannot
think of any that was a dark as the one I entered on April 1, 1995 and was not
conscious of for a whole week and then found out I would be dragging my lower
half of my body around for the rest of my life! Big deal, that was at least
light at the end of the tunnel – and I always have looked at that – what I have
and not what I do not have! But today all that have is a great idea for a great
cause that may not ever leave the dark tunnel – even if I do. Although I cannot
see how I can leave it behind. Seriously this is the reason I get up and out of
bed
in the morning – it is and has been my motivation ever since that fateful
day 12+ years ago. I cannot think of being separated – it is who I am – a
filmmaker, a filmmaker who has created based on his own experiences in a very
dark tunnel, a great idea for a great cause with great potential to be a great
deal in both the business and social worlds.

 

Is anybody listening?

 

Does anybody care?

 

Does anybody on that stage of Hollywood
players and makers care?

 

Does anybody have any other ideas on how to get their
attention on that stage?

 

You hear of those stories all the time of when a person,
seemingly out of no where gets their attention and makes something of it –
Tarantino, Rodriguez, Smith and many others! I love their work, their examples,
but none of them had what would be such a collective
impact
to include:

  1. breaking
    stereotypes,

 

  1. ending
    discrimination on both sides of the camera,

 

  1. changing
    perspectives that have been in place the entire history of the motion
    picture industry,

 

  1. provide
    jobs to those currently not even considered as potential candidates which
    in turn

 

  1. provides
    examples and realistic reasons for future generations to dream regardless
    of their physical challenges, which does not exist today,

 

  1. that
    will during the course of the life of dedication and several projects help
    change society’s opinions very similar to the way it did back in the days
    of;
    1. Sidney
      Poitier for the black stereotypes and discrimination,
    2. and
      with such films as “Philadelphia”
      with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington for those with alternative
      lifestyles,
    3. like
      it did for the female gender in “Thelma and Louise” and many others, all
      which provided a alternative and authentic view not seen before their
      releases and during some of the most discriminatory and stereotypical
      times in their history  

 

  1. and
    that is only speaking of the characters of their respective minority or
    sub-group. So if we include the people from both sides of the camera to
    include the filmmakers, and the actors coming from each of those
    minorities and/or subgroups to help form new, honest and true
    representations of those with a disability, which is the only way to
    provide an authentic voice along with honest representation for a
    population that has been ignored by the industry and in some cases society
    for so long and all primarily because there has been no challenge to the
    stereotypes anywhere and especially where it could have the most potential
    to affect a change and provide an honest representation.

 

All will be a “turning point” in American Cinema and
directly affect those with a disability all over society, including the
industry forever!

So I must carry on. I must do it and obviously not just for
myself but for all the reasons listed, for all of the current 54+ million
Americans with a disability, their family, friends and loved ones. For me
personally even when I see a sparkle at the end of the tunnel… this is my
light. This is my torch, my flashlight and even if it never turns green – I
guess my mark will be – if anyone finds me, if I can get any attention to what
it is I am doing. Not trying but doing, as the one who despite the darkness in
the tunnel would never give up on his great idea for a great cause that had the
great potential for a great deal of people
that goes beyond the business and
social worlds. RIP, baby! RI fuckin’ P, baby!

 

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